Choose a Name for Vancouver's Baby Beluga Whale, Quickly


Image from Vancouver Aquarium

Veteran (as in since 2007) readers of TreeHugger may remember the earth-shattering and controversial competition to name Greenpeace's humpback whale. Mr. Splashy Pants was voted the most popular choice. The suggestion that this was a dubious moniker prompted 206 irate comments from readers who disagreed.

Now whale watchers have another chance. This adorable little baby beluga was born at the Vancouver Aquarium in British Columbia on June 7th. The aquarium is looking for a name that "reflects the Arctic origin of belugas and Inuit culture." Since the aquarium is so politically correct, Mr. Splashy Pants probably won't win too many votes this time round.


Image from Vancouver Aquarium: mother and child

The whale hails from the Canadian Arctic which is comprised of the Inuvialuit region of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, the Nunavik region of northern Quebec and the Nunatsiavut region in northern Labrador. Belugas are always white and are becoming quite rare due to hunting, over fishing, and pollution in the St. Lawrence River area.

Finding a good name will be no easy task. The Inuit language is called Inuktitut and has been used for thousands of years in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Siberia. It is mainly an oral language but has its own symbols that represent words or syllables. The dictionary is daunting so this should be a nail-biter... So far Slushie, Bella and Atka have been suggested. Other belugas at the aquarium are called Aurora (the baby beluga's mother), Imaq, (the father) and Qila, meaning "beluga" in Inuktitut.

You have until November 22, 2009 to come up with your name for this sweet baby calf. : Vancouver Aquarium

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